BREAKING NEWS

Solomon Islands to sign bilateral Maritime Agreement with Fiji today

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will today sign a bilateral Maritime Agreement with the Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama at a side event of the 51st Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Meeting which kicks-off in Fiji’s capital, Suva today.

PM Sogavare and Madam Sogavare welcomed at Nausori airport upon arrival. Photo: PM Press Secretariat

The signing of the agreement will mean that the two countries will now secure the rights and responsibilities over their marine resources and exert maritime claims as Parties to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. 

In 2018, the PIF forum leaders acknowledged the urgency and importance of securing the region’s maritime boundaries as a key issue for the development and security of the region, and thereby for the security and well-being of the Blue Pacific. 

The Pacific Community (SPC) is the coordinator of the Pacific Maritime Boundaries Programme.

The programme supports Pacific Island  Countries and Territories to secure the rights and responsibilities over their ocean space, in accordance with the UN Convention of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This is the first face-to-face meeting of the PIF leaders since the start of the pandemic.

PIF Secretary General Henry Puna told the regional media representatives yesterday that one of the key issues which will be unpacked this week is the 2050 Strategy for “our” Blue Pacific Continent.

“If there is one thing we Pacific leaders are good at, it is talanoa – the ability to talk, to share great ideas and passion, visions and dreams are often born from the time we spend in the art of talanoa. 

“But without a purpose, a plan and a strategy to test and carry ideas forward, we would be wasting the same gifts which brought our seafaring ancestors to this sea of islands,” Mr Puna told Pacific journalists when he officiate at the media masterclass organized by PIF, PACMAS and PINA, yesterday.

The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent is a regional strategy to protect and secure Pacific people, place and prospects. 

The PIF Secretary General also acknowledged that regional leaders once again are able to meet face-to-face after the three years of pandemic disruptions and recovery alongside the ongoing challenges of the climate crisis, and the ongoing geostrategic and geopolitical priorities and interests in our region as well.

Other issues that are going to be discussed this week include climate emergency, healing the Micronesian rift, Pacific partnerships with China, Ocean and fisheries issues and nuclear policy.

By Jared Koli

In Suva, Fiji

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